Dulcius Ex Asperis by Andrew Ross Invisible and terrible A virus stalks the land. It floats across the atmosphere And moves from man to man. A tickle in the throat perhaps, A muted sneeze to start. A dying gasp, The poisoned asp, It still remains as we depart. A pestilence like those we see In dusty books of history, And like a speck of dust it floats Within the air, in search of hosts. How can it be in modern times That we cannot ameliorate With modern meds In modern beds The agonies of ancient Fate. And fear, another ancient foe, Has settled in our hearts. Slaying reason, dimming thought, Laying waste to mind and art. Thick in the air, miasmic fear, It's heavy and it's hot. To breathe in deep, To live; to sleep, It's hard when plague's in every thought. We quarantine ourselves at home. The city streets are still. A loneliness pervades the land, A pall over the hills. For how can men, such social souls, Not keenly feel the loss Of firm handshakes, The gives; the takes Life's civic joys and public costs. And yet, as we retire home We find ourselves again. Wife, mother, father, son and our Beginning and our end. A quiet world that's lacking the Loud city's hue and cry. A time to think, Recharge the links That make our lives worthwhile. This too shall pass, this fearful plague That lives in air and hides in cloud. This too shall pass, this pestilence, This madness of the crowd. And when Spring's sunlight shines again With luck we'll then recall. The love that binds, The cherished time That's given to us all. A gratitude for what we have, Our families and our homes A thankfulness for everything Remembered, once alone. Soon, soon, I hope we shall begin Renewal and repair Of time and grace Of a grateful place The silver lining of despair. Andrew Ross is an emergency physician and author of The Sweet and Bitter Taste of Moonshine and The Meteorite (both novels). CCP Virus (Covid-19) Advice in the Style of The Greats by Susan Jarvis Bryant Rudyard Kipling If you can keep your cool, not go bananas, When your last roll is down to just one sheet; If you don’t lounge all day in your pyjamas And keep the house respectable and neat; If you can shun all thoughts of wine and whisky Until the sun is setting in the sky; Stay trim, alert and pert and fit and frisky--- Then you have far more stamina than I. Edgar Allan Poe Snub the sweet and all things dairy, keep your weight light as a fairy, Never eat more than you need and don’t exceed consumption’s law, If you’re nodding, nearly napping, and you hear the fridge door flapping, As temptation’s gently rapping, rapping at your old fridge door. ‘Tis some beaming, scheming demon, tapping at your old fridge door--- Munch on kale and nothing more. Emily Dickinson Because they could not stop Wu-Flu It blithely stopped for me--- Confinement wounds the boldest soul--- Oh, when will I be free. Boredom bites behind the door--- That smites my liberty--- My labor and my pleasure too--- Are under lock and key. John Masefield I must go down to the store again to score a toilet roll, And all I ask is the shelves are filled with a gift that makes me whole; And it’s soft and strong; a siren’s song to a bottom’s painful yearning--- A derrière in need of care leaves fevered buttocks burning. William Wordsworth I wandered once, a jocund cloud That floats on high o'er coastal plains. Now I avoid the roving crowd To stop the spread of aches and pains. Although pissed off (I’m shut away) My quarantine may save the day.